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Dr. Partha Protim Borthakur


John Rawls, Social Justice, Amartya Sen, Social Realization, Reconciliation


Purpose: The present paper tries to cross-examine Sen’s notion of justice and to find a midway between the ideal and non-ideal theorizing of justice. Besides, searching for reconciliation between Rawls and Sen, the present paper also attempts to go beyond Sen, while critically engaging with his idea of justice.

Methodology: This study has applied qualitative method; however, both the historical and analytical methods are employed for reaching out the conclusive findings of the study. As the sources of this paper are basically secondary, all necessary and relevant materials are collected from a range of related books, articles, journals, newspapers, and reports of various seminars and conferences that fall within the domain of the study area.

Main Findings: While analyzing Sen’s critique of Rawlsian theory, the study finds that the Rawlsian theory cannot be discarded only as a theory that formulates ideal justice and is not redundant. The study while revisiting Sen’s notion finds that there is also a possibility of reconciliation between ideal and non-ideal theorizing of justice.

Application: This study will be useful in understanding the debate between ideal versus non-ideal theories of justice that has lately been haunting the political philosophy. Besides, it will also be useful in searching for reconciliation between Rawls’ and Sen’s paradigms of justice and thereby offering a conception of justice that is reasonable and true in assessing issues of justice in the present scenario.

Novelty/ Originality: Revisiting Sen’s notion of justice and analyzing such dimensions of politics, the study will benefit the reader to evaluate the debate between ideal versus non-ideal theorizing of justice. Moreover, by searching for a possibility between Rawls and Sen, the study will contribute towards developing an alternative approach and understanding of justice.


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